Empty Nesting Milestone: the first summer home
Whoa, can that be right? It’s nearly the end of April and fast approaching Spring semester finals week, which means the end of the academic year is right around the corner. And college students everywhere, steeped in independence and friends and dorm life and cafeteria eating, will beeline to their childhood bedrooms and parents’ presence and healthy fridges filled with a finite amount of non-magically-appearing food.
--> Truth be told, I’m a little nervous.
Out of necessity, I’ve developed a load of child-free routines for myself.
- working as late as I want without guilt
- spending $40 a week on produce and coffee and olives and eggs, and $0 a week on microwave popcorn, mac-n-cheese and cereal
- being okay with an empty fridge because I haven’t had time to shop and living off the last of the dozen eggs for three days straight (yikes, but this has happened more than once…)
- using the dining-room table as a home office (hello tax forms that I haven’t cleared away yet!)
- filling in my free hours with running, running and more running
- …and working out after work, even if that means I don’t get home until 9pm
- …and going for long walks along the water front late at night when I need to think through the problems of my day with fresh (freezing) air blowing in my face and a stretch of sidewalk to stride along
And of course Ky has developed a lot of mom-free routines, many of which I’m sure will be a surprise to me this summer.
- eating unhealthy food at will (I know this one already)
- ??? activities at ??? late hours
- (realizing that for all our talking, I’m not exactly sure WHAT these new routines are)
I’m nervous about the two of us – once so melded and in sync – trying to work our new [empty nest (me) / college student (Ky)] selves into a cohesive family unit again.
I’m nervous that I’ve been compartmentalizing since Ky has been gone, and when we’re a family unit again I’ll realize how much I miss being a Mom with a growing chick in my nest, and it will be even harder to let my child go next year.
I’m also a little nervous of the opposite: that I’ve grown so used to my single routine, having another person in the house who needs attention and time and effort will require a lot of effort I’m no longer used to giving.
--> I am also soooooo excited!
Half of my professional life operates on an academic calendar. This means that (aside from 8 million other plans) I will have more freedom in my summer than I ever have before!
I’m thinking: camping and traveling and long walks and talks on the beach, road trips and “car food” and sunshine and shorts, swimming and biking, campfires and things toasted on long sticks, “what’s that noise? are there bears here?” middle of the night paranoia, visiting grandparents and finding people to watch the cats while we’re away, wondering if this is the year we should install a window air conditioner and not making a decision before the weather turns cool again and putting the idea off until next year… again… half marathons and tourist traffic and sand in the car and citronella candles and outdoor concerts and wind whistling through the screens at night. Family. Life. Memories. Togetherness.
I can’t wait. :)